Initiation, Monthly Dues, and Working Dues
The entire union relies on membership dues and fees to operate. That means everything from contract negotiation and administration to developing and implementing programs consistent with its constitutional objectives. (See LIUNA Constitution, Article II, Objects.)
There are basically three dues most members will pay. The first is an initiation fee, which most members pay outright when joining the union, or in short installments after being hired by an employer.
The second is monthly dues, which is a set dollar amount that must be paid for a member to be classified as a member-in-good-standing.
The third type of dues is working dues. Working dues are generally a fixed cents per hour worked payment that is made directly to the union by the employer.
If a member has not paid monthly dues by the last day of the following month to which it is owed, the member is considered suspended by the International Union without notice. Within limits, a suspended member may readmit, but only after appropriate dues and fines are paid in full.
The Local Uniform Union Constitution limits local union income to "amounts that are necessary to accomplish and take care of the obligations and requirements of the local union and the purposes for which the local union was established."
While it's not often acknowledged, many non-union construction workers also pay "dues" for working non-union. But, unlike union dues that come off the check, non-union dues are simply the difference between union scale and non-union construction wages.
Think about it -- the average union laborer in Wisconsin can expect to earn between 33 to 50 percent more than the average non-union construction laborer.
In lost income alone that's like paying $12,000 - $18,000 a year in non-union dues!